Todo… Nada… All or Nothing

Going all-in is definitely one of my favourite moves in poker.

Omaha Poker

High Starters in Omaha

“Clean” high starters are absolutely real. These are the hands, unable to form a low combination, therefore, they are “one-sided” by definition. The way you need to play them depends on the position you have since in Omaha Hi /Lo the pot is to be split. From this point of view, all “clean” high starters can be divided into two types: those that contain Ace and those that do not. Very few of the high starters that do not contain Ace can be played aggressively. Exceptions, as a rule, are the strong non-ace starters such as 10, J, Q, K, particularly if they are two double suited. But this also can be considered as an exception in case such a starter is played in the middle or late positions and the opponents did not play aggressively until then. The problem is that these hands need high probabilities and too much information during the flop. In case the opponents in early positions did not play aggressively and you re-raise during the pre-flop in late position (with this type of hand), you solve both these problems directly and even one more but indirectly:

  • Thanks to such actions, the pot most probably will rise considerably for the flop, since as in Omaha Hi-Lo, especially in its limit version, limpers rarely fold in response to raise in late position.
  • In case that flop did not help your starter to form a strong combination or a strong draw, you can answer your opponents’ aggressive play by folding (while the pot is not too big).
  • In case the flop gives you some chances to enter the pot, the late position will allow you to calculate your chances very accurate even if the bank is going to be split.

You’ll get a reverse effect with such a starter if you raise from an early position. First, as a result of this action, part of the potential limpers may leave the pot, and some of the opponents may answer with re-raise. Thus, this hand is at the pre-flop in unfavorable conditions.
The logic of playing the “clean” high starters containing an ace during the pre-flop is different, especially the high starters with suited connectors (for example, A, K, Q, J; A, K, K, Q, etc.). With such hands, you are more comfortable during the flop, since you need lower probabilities and less information relative to your opponents’ hands. In Omaha Hi /Lo, as a rule, the absolute nuts win, and the difference between, for example, an ace-high flush and royal flush is much more significant than in Hold’em. That is why when you have a strong enough “clean” high starter with an ace, you need to raise from any position, and you will solve three problems:

  • Increase the size of the pot;
  • Discard the marginal high starters or make them pay more on the flop;
  • Discard the marginal low starters.

The worst flop for a strong “clean” high starter is a low unmatched flop of different suits which, unfortunately, occurs quite often. As a rule, a flop like this does not help such a starter to form a hand. But on the other hand, it provides low expectations for several players at once. Even more, trying to form a non-nuts low, they may in some cases form nuts-high, and our starter at a significant cost will not receive any profit. A similar situation occurs even if the flop has opened only two low unpaired cards. If a player with a marginal low hand such as 2, 3, or 2, 4, as a rule, does not enter a high pot, he can enter a low pot on the flop. Especially, if the second pair of cards gives him some more perspectives, even if they are not very good.  In other words, the tolerance of the marginal low-starters on the flop for a low price in very many cases means more problems on all other streets. It must be remembered that the presence in the pot of the strongest low starters, such as A, 2; A, 3, etc. is a necessary evil for the “clean” high starters. But if you hold an ace, that will automatically reduce the probability of someone else having the strongest low starter since one of the aces is already taken.

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